Grace Fell_A Short Story
“Fall softly,” she said to the boy, who picked himself up and dusted his behind. He ran back into the chaotic play he had been engaged in. Grace wondered if his mom knew how her little boy was playing, and if she would care. Back in the day, adults would scold her if she had been engaged so roughly. Some might have been strangers and it was okay by everybody.
She continued on her way, wishing she could stay back and watch the children play. She would invite any reasonable thing to distract her from where her thoughts had roamed. She had just stepped out to purchase a few things from the nearby market. Her husband would be back late anyway. She would cook a meal that he may like or not like. It was usually a hit or miss.
After everything her mother had drummed in her ears about the importance of getting married, she thought it would feel, more… Just more. More than this insane repetition. More than here and there good feelings. Happiness was often found outside of her home or in her imagination. She envied her single friends. Mama Bola had told her that children had a way of making it better. But she didn’t have those yet.
Why did no one tell her the whole marriage thing was a prison? Why did she accept Charles just because he was a man and he had a job and he came from a good family? Good was relative, Grace had come to learn. She had barely begun the marriage journey, but the “good” family had already started giving her the evil eye every time her stomach looked as flat as it did the day she said “I do”.
A little more crayfish this time, she said to herself and she stirred the soup. She wished she could put a little more spice in her own life, a little more tastiness. Charles was content. He focused on work and work friends. Enjoyed himself, went out, and had her for his sexual appetite. What was she getting out of it? Rules, traditions, expectations. And she was failing. It was really a man’s world.
Things changed that day at the hair salon. She had never been to that particular salon before. The women were younger than the older woman she was used to, and seemed more knowledgeable about the world. Only a few people had cell phones and life was still less of a rush. She had been prompted to open up about herself. The women gave her pity. They seemed to understand. “My dear,” one said, “you have to become sharp o.” What was she talking about? She said Grace was too unspoiled to know. Grace insisted and the woman gave her a book. A few of the other ladies smiled conspiratorially. “Hide it o.”
It started with the book, and it escalated to the BWC – the bored wives club. Then it was harmless flirting with a younger man, the landlord’s brother. Then it was a full-fledged affair.
Then the bump started showing. Whispering and gossiping followed.
She used to go to church with her mom. When she got married, she went with Charles. They went often enough, especially on the special occasions. Why didn’t someone ever tell her that marriage was so much more than family and society and tradition? She wondered. For the first time she could really see Jesus on the cross. She saw him calling the church his bride. Then she heard about his loving sacrifice and how it was to be reflected in marriage. Singleness wasn’t even a curse but was a blessing in its own way. Marriage wasn’t the ultimate goal, but knowing God.
She was so far from it she was in hell. She could hear them telling her story. See how Grace fell. She had been cast out with no home or husband. No family. No more talks about getting married. Nobody to pretend to.
Maybe now she would be able to hear clearly, Christ’s call to give herself to Him.